Dining on a Dime: Healthy Eating on a Budget

Thursday, April 11, 2013 1:54 PM comments (0)

budgeteatingWe often think that eating healthy means spending more money. You don’t necessarily have to sacrifice on flavor and the foods you love when trying to eat on a budget. Saving some green in your pocket book can be as easy as becoming a better planner both at the grocery store and in the kitchen.

When you think about stretching your dollars with your food, remember that making smart choices is a small price to pay when it comes to your overall health and wellness.

Kimberly Hammon, registered dietitian at NorthShore, shares the following recommendations for maximizing nutritional value and minimizing costs:

  • Shop seasonally. When produce is in season it tends to be less expensive. Another way to enjoy your seasonal favorites all year round is to can or freeze them for later use.
  • Plan your meals and make a list. Think about how often you have to throw items out in your refrigerator because they go bad. Planning out your menus and sticking to your shopping list will help reduce waste. It also is a good idea to shop on a full stomach. This way you’ll resist the urge to splurge.
  • Purchase items in bulk. Rice, beans and other items can be much more cost effective when purchased in larger quantities. You don’t have to worry about these items going bad, so there’s nothing wrong with buying in bulk. Just make sure you have proper storage space.
  • Buy frozen and canned vegetables. The nutritional value is often the same as fresh vegetables and the shelf life is much longer.
  • Start a garden of your own. A great way to reduce the cost of buying food is to grow it yourself. You can start growing many fruits and vegetables from seeds or seedlings inside, and then transfer them outdoors once the threat of frost is over.
  • Shop when you are not in a hurry. Take time to compare prices.  
  • Try to shop without your children. Unwanted items can creep into the cart with too many “helping hands.” Take turns with a friend for child care.
  • Limit your shopping to only once a week. The more trips to the store, the more money you spend. It is hard to purchase only a few items on any trip to the grocery store.

What do you do to reduce your grocery bill? What cost-saving tips do you have?

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